Only twice since September 14, 1993 have I dreamed of my daughter, Averie Ryne Hawkins, (Aug 16, 1993-Sept 14, 1993). I had heard of people dreaming of loved ones who had passed, and how it comforted them. Dreams that seemed real, as if they were actually with that person.
I often wondered why I never dreamed of Averie. I had prayed for God to let me have a dream of her; just a glimpse of the person she would have been. Would she have been shy like Steve, or outgoing like me? Would she have been a musician or an athlete? But years went by, and nothing. It was only a few years ago that I had my first dream about her.
In the dream, it was as if, instead of being gone, she was just staying with someone. I went to pick her up, and I was so worried that she wouldn’t know who I was. She looked to be about 10 months old, and just like in real life, she was blind and deaf, except in this dream I’m pretty sure she could hear, because when I walked in the room, she stood up, in her baby bed. I was so happy when I realized she knew exactly who I was! It was if we’d never been apart. She smiled big, bounced and stuck out her sweet little arms to reach for me. It was so sweet to hold her and to know that she knew me, and loved me in spite of the fact that I was not able to spend much time with her.
That was an experience I was never able to have with her. She never smiled at me, reached for me, or cried when I walked away. I’m thinking that was God’s way of giving me just a tiny glimpse of Heaven.
Two or three years after the first dream, I had my second dream about Averie. Again, I was picking her up from somewhere, it seemed to be a hospital. This time when I saw her, the feeling was different than the first dream. I was very happy to see her, but I knew I had seen her before. It felt like years, and I suppose it had been. In this dream she looked to be about 3 years old, and again, she knew exactly who I was, and was happy to see me. This time she wasn’t blind at all! She was running around all over the place. She ran right up to me and jumped into my arms. She smiled so sweetly at me and hugged me very tightly. I wanted to cry every time I looked at her because she was so beautiful. She had the sweetest smile, and the most gentle spirit. She lit up the whole room. I don’t recall her saying anything, I guess she got that from Steve, but she did seem to be a bit rambunctious . At one point, she was climbing up a floor lamp and I had to get her down. Maybe that’s what she inherited from me. I had the strange feeling that I had abandoned her somehow, and I kept thinking to myself “ how could I have given up on her?” There was someone with me, not really sure who it was, but I told them that the doctors had said that Averie would never walk or feed herself or anything, but look at her now! She’s walking, she’s beautiful and full of personality! I realized at that moment, I didn’t give up on her, God wanted her to be with Him so she could be whole.
I can’t remember how the dream ended, but I feel that God spoke to me through those dreams. Those dreams were more than just a glimpse of a life yet to be lived. They were full of examples of how God loves us, and wants us to have abundant life here on this earth.
I believe God was telling me that, even when we walk away from Him for a period of time. Even when we feel we’ve been away so long that we don’t deserve to come back. Even when we feel like we’ve given up on Him, still He welcomes us with open arms. He never forgets who we are, and He’ll have a big smile on his face when we come back to Him. He will never give up on us! And maybe, just maybe, when you cry out to God and you hear nothing, and you feel He’s not there. Maybe He’s telling you that some of life’s lessons are better felt than heard.
Sometimes, in this life, we try to replace the emptiness with something other than God , and we end up with a longing that can not be filled, and before we know it we’re deep in despair. Then when God does show up, it’s often painful because we realize exactly what is in our hearts. God doesn’t always make pain go away, but uses it to take us to deeper spiritual levels. Is that always fun? Certainly not, but without pain we would have no appreciation for pleasure.
In the words of my friend Mrs. Nancy, “God doesn’t waste anything!” He doesn’t want us to live miserable, sad lives, but He will let you feel some pain (as much as it takes) to get you to realize that: 1) you need Him, and, 2) He is not a God that can be manipulated. Doing all the good “Christian” things does not insure you won’t go through pain, but maturing means that when you do, you will trust Him enough to know He can handle it!
Me personally? He’s still workin’ on me! But today, I am thankful for God’s little glimpses of Heaven and for those lessons He teaches us in unexpected ways.
For God’s unfailing love is as high as the heavens. His faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Psalm 57:10